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A lot of Noob Questions:

Discussion in 'Introduce Yourself to the Community' started by Crusis, Oct 15, 2007.

  1. Crusis

    Crusis Junior Member
    Messages: 4

    Hi guys, I have a lot of questions to see if I want to go this route.

    My wife and I have a lawn service together, we want something to boost the Winter income, and we also have the possibility of trading tuition for plowing to keep our daughter in Christian school.

    To the questions:

    1. I have a '06 Dodge 1500 Megacab, 5.7 Hemi. Good truck for this? It's 4x4, quite heavy, and pretty new so very reliable. Are those the ingredients for a plow truck?

    2. I hear that Western or Boss are the blades to buy according to the forums here. Are either one more suited to the 3 or 4 plows a year you'll have in Indiana?

    3. What is a reasonable pay scale per hour (which can translate to a total bid, but we still care what we make per hour) for removal, and does it vary based upon the severity of the snow/weather?

    4. We have 1M in general liability insurance now, is that enough? I assume that the danger of someone falling is significant, and you're always going to have the "help, I've fallen and I can't get up!" crowd that will rush off to an attorney.

    5. If you sub for another company, how do you get paid? Hourly or per job? We have a friend through church that has a much larger lawncare company, so that's why I'm asking this.

    6. What should a good plow cost including installation?

    7. I assume that the cutting blade on the bottom is pretty tough, how expensive and how often does that need to be replaced. Does it last the whole season or just one plow?

    8. Salt spreading. Required? Recommended? What brand of spreader to buy, and how does it work? Just throw out a constant rate of salt? Where do you get salt in that quantity?

    Sorry for all the questions, guys, I feel like a noob all over again, but we (meaning me and the real boss) want to make an informed decision, the plow seems like a pretty steep investment. Oh yeah, that brings up Q #9: Do the plow places have finance plans?

    Thanks again!
  2. hydro_37

    hydro_37 PlowSite Veteran
    from iowa
    Messages: 3,790

    If you do a search you will find answers to all your questions. Or do like you have been doing and just go through the forums. To sum it up tho... don't plan on making much money the first year with all the costs involved to get started in the plowing business. Best of luck.
  3. grandview

    grandview PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 14,609

    If you take your 2nd sentence and last one the question is ,why? You'll trade plowing for tuition but you want to finance the plow? If that's all you want to do why bother with the headaches of plowing just pay the the school bill.

    Not sure about the plowing in your area someone else will answer that.
  4. LoneCowboy

    LoneCowboy PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,760

    Somewhat. 2500's are better, but it should work. You'll have to run a lighter plow than a 2500, but not a huge deal. LOTS of people run 1/2 tons

    This is a local issue, only you or local people can answer. Call around and do some price checking.

    You need snow removal liability insurance. Check your general policy and it will specifically exclude snow removal/snow plowing. Call your agent. It's usually not cheap.

    usually hourly (and it's less than the hourly wage you would make for doing it on your own. But sometimes it's "this much for a job". Again, it depends.

    Brand new, around $5000, plus or minus.

    It usually lasts a whole season here (on 3 or 4 snows a year it will go for years), then you flip it over and use the other side. They cost about $200 or so, easily replacable at home.

    dunno, but you should find a local plow place and go talk with them. Doesn't matter if you like brand X if Brand Y is the only one sold and supported near you. Dealer support is key.

    Honestly, you need to go sub first or work for someone for a season. Plowing WELL is a little more involved than just pushing the snow around. You could buy a used plow truck for around $5000, run it for a year working for someone else and then see if you like it and if not, sell the truck for about $5000.
  5. JD Dave

    JD Dave PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 11,194

    Wow, good first post. I'm with cowboy you have too many ?'s to answer. I would sub for the first year and figure out a few tricks of the trade. Good Luck.
  6. bribrius

    bribrius PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,609

    EXACTLY. I AGREE :salute:
  7. TwistedMetal

    TwistedMetal Member
    Messages: 48

    dave has the best answer...try to sub the first year..i didnt..we only had 5 plowable storms in my area..only half of my lawn accounts wanted plowing...only bought the plow because my high end account had a private road that need plowing and i didnt want to lose the account.made some money ..but found out that plowing isnt easy..lol..wish i found this site last year..

    DAFFMOBILEWASH PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,602

    Talk to your buddy with the lawn care buisiness. See if he can put you in a truck for the first year. Sure you won't make killer cash but you will learn the trade from people which have experience. From there you can expand to your own trucks and in time pehaps a fleet of trucks. It's all about baby steps and the understanding of how to sucessfully run a plowing buisiness.payup

    For without experience snow plowing liability will break the bank and you will be working for free or a loss. Don't even try to run a plow company with out the liabiliy, for it only takes one person who fall; even if they trip on a snowflake, to ruin your life finicially.:cry:

    By the end of the plowing season your list of questions should be awnsered and with confidence your buisiness will take off.xysport


  9. Crusis

    Crusis Junior Member
    Messages: 4

    I guess I didn't say the tuition thing too clearly. That is certainly not my only interest in plowing, I just have the opportunity to plow the school lot if I want to take the contract in exchange for tuition fees. The lot is wide open and should be empty when I plow it, as long as it doesn't snow all day it should just take an hour to get it done, I'd guess. But since I'm the noob I couldn't say for sure. Heh. It's probably 80 parking spots and a 400 foot driveway with no curbs.

    I think Daff might have the right idea. Spare my truck for my lawn/landscaping, and talk to the friend about driving one of his trucks this year. We'll see how that goes. I don't have to come up with $5000 at the worst time of year for it either, when I'm concerned about Winter income.

    Thanks, guys, you've been very helpful.
  10. Mick

    Mick PlowSite.com Veteran
    from Maine
    Messages: 5,546

    Something you didn't ask about, but you probably didn't think about. Trading plowing for tuition falls under the "BARTER" section of the IRS rules. It is assigned a value (tuition) and treated as income.
  11. Chris-R

    Chris-R Senior Member
    Messages: 321

    Lawngirl, nice website :)
  12. Crusis

    Crusis Junior Member
    Messages: 4

    Thanks, Mick! I didn't know that. But I'll certainly look into how that works. Last thing I need is IRS problems.

    Thanks Chris! It's a work in progress, as is everything in life.

    Thanks to all of you for your advice and help.
  13. basher

    basher PlowSite Fanatic
    from 19707
    Messages: 8,993

    Western has a program going, but you're paying credit card interest.